SpaceX deploys two satellites for SES connectivity service

13 Nov 2023

Image: SpaceX

The company plans to launch a new commercial service in 2024, while Foxconn reportedly made its first move into the space sector.

Connectivity provider SES has launched two satellites into orbit with the help of SpaceX, in order to provide a high-performance connectivity service.

The two O3b mPower satellites successfully reached orbit yesterday (12 November), after being launched by a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket that launched from the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in the US.

The launch means that six SES satellites are in medium-Earth orbit to provide connectivity services around the globe, for a commercial service that is expected to launch in the second quarter of 2024. SES said this service will deliver predictable low latency, flexibility and service availability.

“With the fifth and sixth O3b mPower satellites launched and going operational in the next few months, we are gearing up to deliver the high-performance connectivity services our customers need,” said SES CEO Ruy Pinto.

“By building resiliency into the network, we are confident our customers will be able to depend on us to deliver the reliable and secure connectivity required to run their operations.”

SES plans to have a total of 13 satellites in orbit for its O3b mPower commercial service. Last month, the company said it will add two Boeing-built satellites to the constellation.

The company claims to have more than 70 satellites in two different orbits to help it manage and deliver high-performance video and data “virtually everywhere on the planet”.

At the start of 2023, SES received a €300m loan commitment from the European Investment Bank to launch three satellites and expand its services. SES is also involved in a open consortium that is assisting with the EU’s IRIS2 satellite constellation.

This constellation – called Infrastructure for Resilience, Interconnectivity and Security by Satellite (IRIS2) – is a public-private project that the EU is hoping will improve its ability to provide broadband as well as connectivity services related to security and surveillance. The EU is aiming to have IRIS2 fully operational in 2027.

Meanwhile, Taiwanese manufacturer Foxconn has made its first foray into space by launching two satellites into lower-Earth orbit, Bloomberg reports. The company had two small satellites aboard a SpaceX rocket that took off from Vandenberg Space Force Base on 11 November.

SpaceX said that 90 payloads were expected to deploy from this rocket across 89 deployments and said 86 of these deployments have been confirmed.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic